The Padres pick number 25th overall in this year’s 2023 Amateur Player Draft. I thought I’d delve into some potential targets I like for the Friars, and some I think could make sense.
2023 MLB DRAFT
Colt Emerson, SS/3B, Glenn HS, New Concord, Ohio:
Advanced high-school hitter with an easy approach at the plate to go along with a sweet compact swing. He doesn’t try to do too much and let’s the game come to him. One of the younger players in the draft. Consistently barrels balls and makes in-game adjustments well. More hit over power currently, using the entire field with consistent authority. A SS that could stick, but some believe he moves to 3B where his bat should play.
One of the stronger prep track records. Emerson sported an impressive .446 batting average with eight home runs and 39 runs scored with a tick over 1.000 OPS this past season.
Thomas White, LHP, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass:
One of the best left-handed pitchers in the draft. A 6-5″ lefty with late life through the zone; touching 97MPH and a slider that compliments his FB with hard late break that could be a plus wipeout pitch as he matures.
He can get out of sync with his mechanics leading to inconsistencies. But he’s athletic and with high spin-rate breaking offerings (what could end up being a plus curve) accompanied with his plus fastball, gives him immense upside.
Colin Houck, SS, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga:
Houck is a two-sport athlete that’s generated strong interest in football as well: At 6-2″ 190lbs and impressive strength at the plate, generating impressive exit velocities while exploding through the zone with an easy approach. A short compact swing barreling balls with good bat control and hard consistent contact. Offensive profile middle infielder with an impressive approach and a feel to hit.
He hit for more average this last year and more power his Jr. year where he slugged 15 HR with a .412 batting average. He followed up his Jr. year showing less power but improved his average from .412 to .487 with eight homers and nearly a 60 point improvement getting on base.
George Lombard Jr., SS/3B, Gulliver Prep, Pinecrest, Fla:
An impressive athlete with projection at SS on both sides of the ball. While he could move off SS long-term; however, if you buy into his bat here at 25, you’re envisioning an offensive minded star. A nice left-handed swing generating huge power potential and has showed off some in-game damage, too.
He would benefit from cutting down on his swing-and-miss or simplifying his approach; as he tends to get long to the baseball with too many moving parts. He hit .478 with six home runs with a 24/13 walk to strikeout ratio and a 1.439 OPS.
Alex Clemmey LHP, Bishop Hendricken, RI:
Clemmey, standing at a wiry 6-6″ 220lb lefty that has that “he’s what they look like” cliché frontline starting pitcher upside on the mound. He’s been hitting the upper 90s with explosiveness from the left side, in addition to glimpses of a plus breaking offering. He eclipsed triple digits this spring.
He might be my favorite pitcher in the draft class that actually has a chance to land to the Padres. Clemmey sported a 6-1 record with a 0.59 ERA and struck out 84 in 35 innings. I expect substantial helium here with him and don’t see him as much of a reach as some might.
Dillon Head, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor, Ill
Head saw his stock increasing last year early into this year in part by being one of the most athletically gifted players in the draft. Moreover, an excellent defender at a premium position in center with plus defense with speed as an 80-grade runner. While he’s yet to tap into his power (and maybe that’s who he is, a speedy CF that swipes bags), some are of the belief as he matures and fills out he will do more damage, offensively.
Very good bat to ball skills that could turn into a prototypical leadoff menace first division CF. Head hit .486 with a .565 on base percentage and 1.482 OPS including 9 doubles, 2 triples and 6 homers.
Aidan Miller, 3B, Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, Fla:
One of the best power hitting profiles in the draft at 6-2″ 210lbs, demonstrating huge exit velocities. He had been hurt, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. But like, say, Dylan Lesko or Cal Quantrill, the Padres have shown zero hesitation to draft injured players with hindered track records to dream on their emmence ceiling.
Miller could be a middle of-the-order above average third baseman at the highest level. He hit .400 or higher both his sophomore and Jr year with a combined seven home runs, including a strong showing with the 18U National Team with two HR and a .478 average.
Chase Davis, OF, Arizona:
A very strong athletic outfielder with massive power potential and a possibility of sticking in CF. At 6-1″ 217 lbs he already looks the part. He’s known for his prolific power displays from his High School days; while his knock has been swing-and-miss and consistency, he’s turning more doubters this year into believers putting it all together.
He turned heads in the post season last year after hitting 18 bombs during the regular season. Moreover, he continued to refine his approach in the Cape Cod League; while he’s power over hit, he’s performed well enough this year to buy into his tremendous ceiling.
I could see the Padres picking him here at 25. The Padres highest level scouting personel has been seen at his games. He’s dramatically improved his walk and contact percentages and has tremendous whip and bat speed through the zone.
Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS:
Huge offensive profile and tools behind the plate to be a plus catcher. And while High School catchers are risky, he has versatility playing SS and has touched 97MPH off the mound. He’s hit right around .450 in HS with 13 HR in under 200 At-bats across the last two seasons. He was the Texas State Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. While there’s swing-and-miss to his game, he’s also a patient hitter who can work the count and take his walks. He generates plenty of loft to all fields with his power. He has too many moving parts currently, but there’s plenty of tools and track record to not only dream on but envision lofty projections.
He also has exemplary makeup and has been an outstanding student. The Padres will never shy away from upside and if he’s in play when they pick, he will likely garner some serious consideration.
Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP, Madison HS, Vienna, Va:
Eldridge has massive upside with a legitimate two-way player profile: at 6-7″, 230lbs, he’s almost stupidly athletic for his size. On the mound he’s touched 97MPH; while there’s risk in huge players of his stature, his aforementioned athleticism helps him both on the mound — repeating his delivery — and at the plate, manipulating the barrel of the bat to get to pitches you wouldn’t think he’d square up.
He dealt with an ankle injury and that limited his time in the field, but that didn’t hinder him from hitting over .400 with an absurd on base percentage while smashing nine HR’s. He’ll probably be best utilized at 1B, but he has a plus-plus arm as indicated by his pitching prowess. In some ways he reminds me of James Wood at the plate in the sense he has a great feel for hitting especially for his size. He has a short compact swing that should serve him well adjusting at the next levels.
Brock Wilken, 3B, Wake Forest:
Wilken’s 6-4″ frame matches his imposing demeanor at the plate where he lives to hit fastballs. He has a strong track-record performing in the Cape Cod League where he won the MVP; he possesses as much power hitting upside as anyone in the draft. Having said that, while much of that is pull-side power, it’s massive power. He embodies a prototypical middle-of-the-order 3B profile — and while some believe he could move to 1B — he’s drawn plus defensive reviews at the hot corner.
Currently more power over hit, but he just mashes enough using excellent bat speed to dream on a maturing and matching his hit-tool. He has some swing-and-miss but honed some of that this season and drew more walks.
Nolan Schanuel, 1B/OF, Florida Atlantic:
Schanuel is an advanced bat that is currently more hit over power. However, as he’s matured, he’s consistently drawn more walks than strikeouts that has enabled him to hit for more power in advantageous counts. While he played mostly 1B, he’s an athlete that can handle a corner.
He’s been one of the nation’s top collegiate hitters during the 2023 season where he followed up clubbing 16 bombs last year with 19, hitting .447 with an absurd 1.483 OPS. Maybe more impressively, he only struck out 14 times to his 71 walks.
Enrique Bradfield Jr, OF Vanderbilt:
Bradfield has a prototypical leadoff profile that should enable him to be a perennial stolen base title threat, with a chance to grow into more pop as he matures. As he powered back-to-back 14 HR seasons. But make no mistake, he knows his strengths and uses good bat control to spray the ball to all fields. In addition to being a very strong bunter.
His game-changing speed is his calling card and can go get it in CF and draws repeated comparisons to Kenny Lofton. Over three years with Vanderbilt he swiped 122 bags. He has a good combination of both ceiling and floor.